It took over a year, but my first and second novels in the Bloodlines Series have now officially launched in China.
Both novels were translated from English to Simplified and Traditional Chinese, and based on the feedback I have received from several people I know who are Chinese, the translations were well done.
Bloodlines: Cove Point Manor, was the first novel released in China at the start of July. Sales, at least from what I can tell (more on this issue later!), are steady and the book is doing well. However, the novel is competing in a very competitive genre and the rankings are not as high as that of my second book.
Bloodlines: Of Noble Blood, was released 2 weeks ago and is really doing well, ranking as high as #5 in mysteries, and not falling from the top 10 in this genre.
Here is a screen shot of the current rankings of this book on Amazon China:
Translating these words, the book is ranked #5,612 overall in China for e-books, #7 overall in thrillers, and #35 overall for mysteries and contemporary fiction (defined as published after 1949). It looks like China has an appetite for murder mysteries!
In order to have my books translated from English to Chinese, and then made available for sale in China, I teamed up with a translation & publishing company called Fiberead. I found Fiberead after doing some research while in China last year, and despite some concerns, I decided to work with them.
Fiberead is similar to a crowd-sourcing site wherein they recruit volunteers to translate books and then share in the royalties from any resulting sales. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain, so I uploaded my novels and soon books #1 and #2 were picked up by the translation teams.
The actual translations took only a few months, but getting the books to market, especially in China, took a lot longer. Both translations were completed last Fall, but the Chinese censors only approved both books for sale in late June. It then took several weeks for Fiberead to place both books on Amazon.cn for sale.
The one major complaint I have about working with Fiberead is the very poor communication from the project manager and Fiberead itself; requests for information would often go unanswered and require several repeat messages to get a response. Even when I did receive a response, it was often unhelpful.
Since both books launched on Amazon.cn, sales information is non-existent. I know that the books are selling as I can track the sales rankings online through Amazon.cn, but I have no idea how many books have actually been sold, nor do I know what the royalty amounts are.
Amazon has a very good sales reporting system elsewhere in the world, and I find it difficult to believe that they would not have the same reporting system in China. However, I have been stonewalled by my Fiberead contacts advising me that it will take up to 2 months to report sales figures! Even having a friend of mine, who is Chinese, speak with Fiberead directly, they stuck with this response.
Another point of contention for me is Fiberead's marketing efforts. On their website they say that they handle all marketing and promotions, but after having my friend speak with the project manager, this apparently does NOT take place unless I hand over money for marketing efforts. Not impressive.
I will continue to try and get Fiberead to respond to my concerns and provide prompt and accurate reporting, not only of sales made and royalties earned, but also details about their marketing efforts. Being well versed in dealing with Chinese firms, I know this will be an uphill battle, but eventually I should get some results. In the meantime I will continue to watch my book rankings via Amazon.cn and hope that my books are well received by the Chinese e-book readers.